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The crazy bond that is being a Global Citizen Year Fellow

Brought to you by: Global Citizen Year

It’s craziness. It really is. 57 like-minded youth from all over the United States—flying, driving, doing whatever it takes to meet in one singular place. 57 young adults who have all been consumed by the same passion—to tap into our potential by embracing a cross-cultural immersion. 57 students attempting to break societal restrictions and expectations by seeking an education from the world, rather than a traditional first year at a university. There’s no other way to describe it. We are 57 crazy individuals.

GCYear Joan .jpgImage: Global Citizen Year

But we 57 are more than just crazy, more than new strangers. We 57 Fellows are America’s next generation of leaders. From musical geniuses to academic mavens, from compassionate philanthropists to inspired artists, from dedicated athletes to lighthearted comedians, the 2012 class of Global Citizen Year Fellows is truly remarkable. What is even more remarkable is our ability to instantly connect. We are from uniquely diverse backgrounds—different stories, lifestyles, upbringings, and beliefs. During our first seminar, we learned that together we represent a wide constellation of ethnic backgrounds, that our families have international roots, that we have all had varied global experiences so far. Yet from first introduction, we have also learned that in addition to our differences, we share a number of things that you might not expect from a group of 57 opinionated, independent, and strong leaders.

From day one to day two, the conversation quickly shifts from, “What’s your name again? What country are you going to? Where are you from?” to “So what made you interested in sustainable agriculture? What gave you the resilience to work your way out of a dysfunctional family? Can you tell me about what you learned about yourself by living in India, in China?” The desire to truly understand one another, learn from one another, and develop genuine trust in one another gives us the inspiration for the onset of a fruitful journey.

We may seem crazy, but that’s what makes each and every single one of us a Global Citizen Year Fellow.

Go to TAKE ACTION NOW to tell us how travel has shaped your view of the world.


This piece was contributed by Joan Hanawi, Ecuador Fellow '12. 


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Global Citizen Year is an award-winning, non-profit social enterprise on a mission to make it normal to choose a bridge year; an experience after high school that builds self-awareness, global skills, and grit – the foundations for success in college and beyond.